Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by krazeepolack, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. I have twenty layin hens about 1 1/2 years old. I fill a 5 gallon water bottle inverted from a hanger for feeding besides any treats. (boss, scratch, etc) On occasion, they will empty this container by the following day, scattering plenty of feed. I wait until they clean this up prior to refilling it again. Does anyone feed thier flock as much as they want, or do you ration feed? My feed costs seem excessive. Anytime I approach thier pen, they all act as if Santa just arrived.

  2. Poultrybonkers

    Poultrybonkers Crowing

    Mar 22, 2011
    I have a 30lbs holder for 9 and it empties every 3 days! They don't spill it either.
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    On "average" a laying hen should eat 1/4 pound to 1/3 pound of feed, in total, per day. Twenty hens will eat 5-6 pounds of feed per day. Precision, to the very ounce, is impossible.
    If twenty hens go through 30 pounds of feed in less than 5 days, there is a sobering inefficiency to the feeding system. We all want our hens to receive all the feed they need and want for maximum health and production, but waste, at these prices, is no fun.
  4. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Trick I use to avoid stampede is to arm feeders while birds on roost. I also effort to avoid having feed setting around after dark for rodents so feed is applied just before sunup. I think you do have a little play in how much they will consume verses optimal amount for production. I keep daily record of how much feed is applied and score coop in evening after birds go to roost.

    Use following flow chart to decide whether same, more or less to be applied following day.

    If some feed left, then back off a little when arming feeder next AM.

    If all gone then look to see if birds have distended crops
    ------If yes, then apply same amount next morning
    ------If not, then apply more.

    Reduced temperatures will be associated with increased feed intake.

    Parasites (worms) will be associated with increased feed intake.
  5. BellevueOmlet

    BellevueOmlet Songster

    Jul 10, 2010
    My opinion is that you can never feed Laying hens too much feed. I like to keep pecking order stress at a minimum and don't mind spending a little more for wasted feed to do so but that is a personal choice. I also delay feeding every once and a while so they go clean up the feed they knocked on the ground. If you have meat birds, this does not apply because they do not ration food as well since they have been bred to hoover in large amounts of feed.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Songster

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    I fill my feed enough in the trough for three days. I could put more in but that would fill it and they would then bill it out. I hate seeing it on the floor. If I didn't have a good rodent control system then I think I would go to a daily ration.
  7. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Songster

    Apr 7, 2008
    I have two 5 gallon hanging feeders and I always have a flock block out for 30 hens (bantams). I only refill the feeders on the weekend and they do have some feed left in them from the week before. Rodent control for me is the biggest issue for wasted feed. Every few weeks I put down baited & covered snap traps to get rid of any new uninvited guests. A mice population can quickly get out of hand.

  8. claudicles

    claudicles Chirping

    Mar 26, 2011
    Sydney, Australia
    Treehugger has preempted me but if you are going through that much are you also feeding the local rats and mice and any wild birds? How secure is you food?
  9. centrarchid

    centrarchid Free Ranging

    Sep 19, 2009
    Holts Summit, Missouri
    Another concern in addition to rodents and birds when feeding outside is the business of visiting opportunistic predators. Oppossums and racoons visit and spend time at my feeding stations and outdoor pens when feed is on ground. This is especially true when the feed gets wet. The critters can likely smell such from a good distance and to me the smell is sweet. Both critters really like sweet. It is because of this business that I set feed and feeding stations well away from where chickens roost.
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2012
  10. newfoundland

    newfoundland Songster

    Jul 1, 2010
    This is such an interesting thread. I have only 2 hens but 16 Aylesbury ducks and they eat about 44 lbs of layers pellets in 6 days. I think I am being wasteful. I also give them porridge and kale, but I must get back to cooking up vegetable peelings for them as well.

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